Adobe Flash for the Digital Home, Two Years Later

  • Posted on: 12 October 2011
  • By: Patrick Oliphant

The Adobe Flash platform has come a long way since we first started using web animation. Even more astonishing is its role in facilitating in-home entertainment via the different devices. The Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR platforms have move from being a simple plug-in for desktop applications to being a platform for CE manufacturers to develop solutions for digital home devices. Now, developers can build applications for home devices extending the Flash-based experience to the television.

Adobe, through the Open Screen project found an avenue to extend the reach of Flash base solutions to the digital home. The project’s mandate is to deliver a consistent operating environment across the different devices that we use to consume digital content.  As a platform Flash has allowed televisions viewers to experience Flash rich content that was previously only available on desktop PCs and smart mobile devices.
At this year’s MAX technology conference it was evident how far Adobe’s ‘Flash Platform for the Digital Home’ initiative has come.  In 2009 when the announcement was made they hand just a handful of technology partners such as chip vendors, cable operators, OEMs and content providers.  At the MAX conference they added LG and TiVo to their now long latest of partners.  So far, Samsung is already on board and was the ‘first TV maker to support Adobe AIR on our Smart TVs’. LG said their Adobe AIR base TVs will be out next year (2012).

This month also see the release of Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3. The new AIR 3 platform offers a range of enhancement to today’s Smart TVs, including full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics. There is also full support for HD videos with Dolby and DTS 7.1 channel surround sound for home theatre systems. The platform now features new Game Input APIs for developers to integrate the gaming experience on TV screens.

To date the following platforms are support: Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, Mac OS, Windows, Apple iOS (via AIR), connected TVs. Therefore, content developers can now develop Flash-based games and videos across TVs, Blu-Ray players and set-top boxes.

As Adobe said in 2009 “Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home will dramatically change the way we view content on televisions”, sure seems to be happening.

See also: Entropic and Zenverge Collaborate on Open Screen Solution